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Explore / nature / high country

Meteor Crater

Crater, Museum &
Astronaut Memorial Park


2 Cool Lizards travel guide

There are two well known craters in Arizona. Meteor Crater was caused by the explosive impact of a large meteor; Sunset Crater was caused by a Volcano. Sunset Crater is located east of highway 89, north of Flagstaff. Meteor Crater is located on I-40 east of Flagstaff, near Winslow.


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Meteor Crater Arizona
Meteor Crater was caused by the explosive impact of a large meteor; Sunset Crater (north of Flagstaff) was caused by a Volcano. Meteor Crater is located east of Flagstaff off Interstate 40. It is operated by a private company. Take I-40 east from Flagstaff. Head south from exit #233.

The short drive from I-40 to the crater wanders through very pretty terrain. Red rock and dirt, green high desert shrubs and blue sky create a colorful landscape. The road is new blacktop and in very good condition (August 2007). At the crater, there are indoor and outdoor viewing areas. A big screen movie is included in the entrance fee.

A guided tour (also included with the entrance fee) follows the rim. The tour covers approximately 1 mile round trip; feet must be covered (open back shoes not allowed). If you prefer staying out of the sun, an air conditioned, indoor viewing area is available. Watch the movie to learn about the meteor, and visit the Astronaut Memorial Park at the Visitors' Center. An RV park, with grocery store, is provided for overnight stays.

An on-site restaurant offers food and beverages; an outdoor picnic area provides extra eating space.

Apollo space mission personnel trained at Meteor Crater because of its similarity to the moon's crater-pocked surface. The on-site museum contains information and exhibits about the Apollo missions and NASA's use of Meteor Crater. Due to on-going research by scientists, visitors are not allowed inside the crater. The paved paths provide spectacular views of the crater.1.

Boiler Plate 29A was built in 1965 to test systems that allowed the capsule to float in water upon re-entry; it never actually flew in space 1. We saw the capsule when we visited Meteor Crater in 2008. It is hard to imagine astronauts living in such small quarters! Visit the on-site Astronaut "Wall Of Fame" for a walk through history. The capsule and Wall Of Fame are located in the Astronaut Memorial Park.

50,000 years ago a several hundred thousand ton iron-nickel meteor slammed into the earth with a force greater than 20 million tons of TNT, creating Meteor Crater. The crater measures 700 feet deep and over 4,000 feet across 1.

For maps and information on hiking and exploring the area, go to: www.nps.gov/pefo.

Puerco Pueblo, located on the park road on the south side of I 40, housed approximately 1,200 people 600-800 years ago1. Take the self guided tour via the short paved trail to view the pueblo remains and petroglyphs. Do not touch the petroglyphs; oils from hands can damage them.

Below: Petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo. People have inhabited the area for thousands of years; learn about their history and cultures by visiting the visitor's center.

To read the fascinating history of how this crater was formed, and obtain information on the hours of operation, visit the Meteor Crater website at: meteorcrater.com.

Information Source
1.  "Meteor Crater Brief History." (Brochure) Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc.


Fabulous Reviews Of Nearby Places:
Painted Desert
Grand Canyon
Sunset Crater National Monument
Lava River Cave
Walnut Canyon Cliff Dwellings


Rainbow Forest Museum Petrified Forest
Apollo Test Capsule
Raven Petrified Forest
Road To Meteor Crater
petroglyphs Petrified Forest
American Astronaut Wall Of Fame


Directions


Located 35 miles east of Flagstaff just off Interstate 40. From I-40 go south on Meteor Crater Road.

Resources:

Meteor Crater Enterprises: maps and information about park activities, fees, etc.

phone: 928-289-2362; website: meteorcrater.com


accessible travel

accessible trail Painted Desert Inn
Accessibility
The restroom at the visitors' center is wheelchair accessible and contains a large stall. Numerous paved paths provide accessible viewing of the crater. An elevator is provided for transporting visitors from the parking lot level to the upper level (store, restaurant and viewing level).

Visit meteorcrater.com for current information.

Visit accessible travel to read our article on accessible travel in Arizona.


travel with children

Petrified Forest
Children
Please - STAY ON TRAILS. For the safety of your children and the environment, keep your children on the paths. Safety railings line parts of trails.

Visit meteorcrater.com for more information.

Visit travel with children to read our article on traveling with children.


travel with pets

Pets
Pets are NOT ALLOWED in the visitor center (due to food services on the premises).

NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle; temperatures can be extreme in Arizona. ALWAYS clean up after your pet.

Visit meteorcrater.com for current information.

Visit travel with pets to read our article on traveling with pets.



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